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ExPath Students and their Research

Garrett Allington

Mentor: Kristopher Kahle

Applying patient whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing data in conjunction with the development of a novel integrative genomics pipeline to investigate genetic etiologies underpinning a variety of idiopathic congenital neurological conditions including Chiari malformation, congenital hydrocephalus, and arachnoid cysts.

Christopher Anderson

Mentor: Yibing Qyang | Student Profile

Human Engineered Pulsatile Conduits Using Engineered Heart Tissue of Defined Composition and Fiber Orientation: The purpose of this project is to generate tissue engineered pulsatile conduits (TEPCs) to aid in circulation by producing contractile force, and thus an increased driving pressure, to aid in flow through the pulmonary system in patients with single ventricle heart defects.

Luke Batty

Mentor: Yibing Qyang

Investigating the Barriers to Reprogramming in Pig Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Cardiovascular tissue engineering is a rapidly advancing field that is producing new stem cell-based therapeutics for heart disease, but is being held back by the lack of a robust cardiovascular model that recapitulates the human system for safety and efficacy tests. We are attempting to provide this model in the pig by producing truly pluripotent pig induced pluripotent stem cells to be used as a platform to test allogeneic stem cell-based transplantation.

Jocelyn Chen

Mentor: Qin Yan | Student Profile

Epigenetic Regulators of Breast Cancer Metastasize to the Brain: Breast cancer cells metastasize to vital organs including the brain. Brain metastases, which occur in approximately 15-35% of metastatic breast cancer cases, are refractory to chemotherapy Jocelyn is working to identify and characterize novel epigenetic drivers of breast cancer brain metastasis.

Shanin Chowdhury

Mentor: Silvia Vilarinho Lab | Student Profile

Exploring mechanistic questions about complex liver diseases using genetic screens.

Xiangyu (Gigi) Ge

Mentor: Mandar Muzumdar | Student Profile

Studying mechanisms of acquired resistance to KRAS-targeting therapies based on pharmacologic and genetic vulnerabilities using drug and CRISPR screens in KRAS knockout pancreatic cancer cells and dissecting KRAS signaling network via optogenetic tools.

John Gonzalez

Mentors: Morgan Levine | Student Profile

Aging-associated changes (mRNA, protein and epigenetic DNA methylation) in liver hepatocyte populations during homeostatic and damage conditions.

Bomiao Hu

Mentor: Katerina Politi | Student Profile

Elucidate the role of ERBB2 and EGFR-driven lung cancer.

I focus on mechanisms of resistance of mutant EGFR-driven lung cancer to EGFR TKIs. I will utilize transgenic mouse model that mimic human disease to study the tumor cells that are left over after drug treatment and will eventually expand in the presence of drug. I would like to know how these cells are able to survive drug treatment and whether we can target these cells to delay drug resistance.

Yaqing Huang

Mentor: Themis Kyriakides | Student Profile

The relationship between the gene TSP2 and diseases, and TSP2-related biomaterials.

Sam Kerr

Mentor: Samuel Katz | Student Profile

Exploiting the tumor microenvironment to promote on-target, on-tumor CAR-T cell toxicity: Reprogramming CAR-T cells to promote cytotoxicity in the lymphoma microenvironment by using the physical properties of the tumor microenvironment.

Caro Kravitz

Mentor: Don Nguyen | Student Profile

Leveraging epigenetic targets to elucidate mechanisms of brain metastasis: Caro is interested in identifying novel mechanisms via which epigenetic regulators control the metastasis of lung adenocarcinomas.

Irina Krykbaeva

Mentor: Marcus Bosenberg | Student Profile

Investigating the Immune Response to Melanoma Brain Metastases: To elucidate how the tumor immune microenvironment affects metastatic melanoma growth in the brain, allowing for the development of more effective, rationally designed immunotherapies.

Jade (Xiuqi) Li

Mentor: Karin Finberg | Student Profile

Iron Deficiency anemia affects and estimated 16% of the population worldwide. Recent human and mouse studies suggest that iron deficiency anemia can lead to elevated circulating fibroblast growth factor (Fgf23), a key phosphate regulating hormone and an independent marker of mortality. My goal is to determine the mechanism underlying excess Fgf23 in iron deficiency anemia.

Kingson Lin

Mentor: Ranjit S. Bindra | Student Profile

PD-L1 expression on multiple immune cell types as predictive biomarker to anti-PD-1 blockade therapy: To establish a predictive model to assess the potential for clinical response to anti-PD-1 therapy.

Madeline Mayday

Mentor: Diane Krause | Student Profile

AMKL is a rare leukemia characterized by the improper development of megakaryocytes. In neonates, AMKL is most often caused by a genetic translocation resulting in the RBM15-MKL1 fusion protein. Madeline's work focuses on the effect of this fusion protein on normal and malignant hematopoiesis with the goal of elucidating the mechanism by which it promotes leukemogenesis.

Meaghan McGeary

Mentor: Marcus Bosenberg

Epigenetic Modulators of Melanoma Heterogeneity and Drug Resistance: The goal of this project is to define causes and consequences of tumor heterogeneity in melanoma using YUMM/YUMMER and these subsets as a model.

Christopher Minteer

Mentor: Morgan Levine | Student Profile

Investigating pathology of aging, both to better understand and capture hallmarks of the aging process using epigenetics and also to better inform therapeutic rationales to extend health-span.

Matthew Murray

Mentor: Ranjit S. Bindra

Understanding the epigenetic and pathogenic mechanisms of PPM1D positive tumors associated with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare pediatric cancer, in the hopes of developing viable therapeutic treatments.

Peter Niimi

Mentor: Morgan Levine

Investigating the epigenetic mechanisms of reprogramming and aging in fibroblasts.

Sateja Paradkar

Mentor: Ranjit S. Bindra

Investigating the mechanism of novel radiosensitizers for glioblastoma therapy.

Alva Sainz


Mentor: Samuel Katz

Cellular Response to Mitochondrial DNA Stress in Cellular Aging: The purpose of this project is to determine the cellular and molecular response to mitochondrial DNA stress, and to investigate how age-related changes influence mitochondrial DNA abundance, integrity, and localization within the cell.

Jonathan Sun

Mentor: Carlos Fernandez-Hernando

Genetic and Metabolic Mapping of Obesity-induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: I hope to map changes in molecular networks and metabolic programs from the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to HCC. Through metabolic and genomic tracing, we can isolate molecular leads to evaluate significance in HCC development and identify therapeutic targets.

Taylor Takasugi

Mentor: Sandy Chang | Student Profile

Investigations in telomere maintenance and regulation by Pot1b. To explore the role of Pot1b in telomere length maintenance during telomerase-mediated telomere elongation and alternative lengthening of telomeres.

Ronan Talty

Mentor: Marcus Bosenberg

Melanoma immunobiology.

Tiffany Tseng

Mentor: Themis Kyriakides | Student Profile

My project involves the investigation of the role of extracellular vesicles in inflammation, tissue remodeling and repair. Via genetic and synthetic biology approaches, I aim to decipher the role they play in these processes and exploit them for the development of novel constructs consisting of hydrogels, extracellular vesicles, and drugs. Such constructs will be employed in regenerative medicine applications and the treatment of chronic wounds.

Diana Yanez

Mentor: Keith Choate | Student Profile

Cellular Response to Mitochondrial DNA Stress in Cellular Aging.